How to Act Right and Have Fun at Oktoberfest
As Oktoberfest season begins, I have a few helpful tips that will make the time you spend at your local beer garden festival a fun and fulfilling experience. Living near the longest-running Oktoberfest celebration in the U.S. (Helen, GA), I’ve spent a few dozen or so hours in a Festhalle in my time…and mistakes have been made! From underdoing it to overdoing it, there is an Oktoberfest sweet spot that you should shoot for to achieve the most memorable (or least regrettable) celebration possible. So, I have put together this list of ways to NOT do Oktoberfest. Be smart, and learn from my mistakes. Viel Glück!
Don’t Go Into The Festhalle Expecting to Drink One Beer
At last year’s Oktoberfest, I told myself I wasn’t going to “get crazy” the first night. That quickly went out the window as the beer started flowing faster than the Rhine River after a winter thaw! You’re at Oktoberfest for god’s sake, get crazy and drink some damn beer!
Don’t Fool Yourself…You’re Getting the Beer Tower
When we first walked into the Festhalle last year, we bought our souvenir steins (a definite do) and promptly filled them with our first beers of the night…big mistake. After the beers were tapped and paid for, the beer guy told us that the pitchers were the best value (a tip that would have been helpful before the overly priced single beers were purchased). So, of course, on the next round we got the pitcher, which is just about when we started noticing people bringing giant beer towers to their tables…tall tubes of beer with a tap that scream, “We’re the party people, be jealous!” And we were. So, like an infection, more and more beer towers started popping up on one table after another and we were powerless to resist. As soon as our tower arrived, it was like instant popularity as people came up to touch and take pictures with our tower of awesomeness! There was nothing more to do than saddle up and settle in for a wild night of Oktoberfesting!
Don’t Drink Your Everyday Boring Beers
Oktoberfest is all about the beer, after all, so step outside of your comfort zone and try every kind of German beer they have to offer…you just might find a new favorite! Whether it’s a pale ale, a dark beer, or a wheat beer, live a little and try a variety…it’s the spice of Oktoberfest life! One tip though: make sure you know you like the beer before ordering a tower of it…that’s a lot of beer to not enjoy and that’s not very Wunderbar!
Don’t Fake The Words to German Oompah Songs
Everyone there knows you’re probably not German and you probably don’t speak German fluently, so don’t even try. Very few people around you will know the words either, but trust me, you’ll hear Ein Prosit so many times in one sitting that you’ll learn just enough German to get you through Oktoberfest just fine…Prost!
Don’t Pretend Like You Don’t Want To Do the Chicken Dance
It’s unavoidable at any Oktoberfest celebration and by the time you’re halfway through the beer tower, you’ll be standing on top of the table flapping your chicken wings like a maniac and loving every minute of it…over and over again throughout the night. You can’t fight the power of the Chicken Dance…resistance is futile!
Don’t Resist The Urge to Do Every Other Stupid Dance
So many line dances, so little time! From the Bunny Hop to the Hokey Pokey to the German Hat Dance to the Electric Slide, you’ll be burning off those beer calories in no time. Last year my husband got pulled up on stage to perform the Hat Dance (which he promptly screwed up) and I wasn’t able to stop singing this damn song about Fast Food restaurants for days! Polka songs are dumb, but highly addictive!
Don’t Mention Anything Remotely Related to “The War”
This is quite possibly the most important don’t on the list as it will only result in old ladies staring at you with disgust from the neighboring table and you’ll feel like an asshole as a result! Odds are there will be some older folks around you who are actually German (or from the era)…and they don’t find that shit humorous at all! So, no matter what, keep your damn mouth shut and don’t make any comments or inappropriate jokes whatsoever relating to this subject…it’s wrong, in poor taste, insensitive, and just not funny. I’m sorry, all right, I was drunk, I didn’t mean it…stop staring at me lady!!!
Don’t Think That You Won’t Buy a Ridiculous Outfit
While I resisted the urge to purchase a full-on dirndl outfit (those busty beer maid outfits…although I regret not doing so) last season, I did purchase a fun hat that instantly made me the bell of the ball! I wasn’t sure which hat to buy as there were so many to choose from. Initially, I was partial to the “traditional” green Alpine Hat (particularly the one with the sequins and flashing lights), but then there were so many other fun hats to choose from! One shaped like a beer mug, a chicken, an Edelweiss garland, a hillbilly hat (not a fan of that one), and so many more. But then I saw a girl with the hat that spoke to me…a Bavarian blue checkered number with felt horns, a cowbell, and a furry beer mug hanging off the back…I was in love! The second I put that hat on, people everywhere wanted to know where I got it and one couple even took a picture with me…oh, the paparazzi, it’s was maddening!!!
Don’t Stay More Than Stumbling Distance From the Festhalle
Last year, we decided to go to Helen a day before we actually went to Oktoberfest…bad idea! We foolishly rented a mountain cabin online (which had a beautiful view of the highway…don’t get me started) that was approximately two miles from the Festhalle. In theory, that seemed like a doable distance to walk home after a night of drinking (don’t drink and drive kids)…but it wasn’t! After a long night of chicken dancing, beer tower drinking, and wiener-schnitzel bingeing, the last thing you want to do is walk more than two blocks, let alone two miles. Without a taxi in sight, every rundown motel vacancy sign we passed by on the way to our cabin at the top of the steepest hill known to man was like a hot poker to my aching feet. On the up side, we walked off a few hundred more beer calories!
Don’t Stay More Than Two Days If You’re Over 40
While two days at Oktoberfest sounded like a fun idea at the start, by the middle of the second night in the same Festhalle with the same oompah band singing the same songs with the same drunk people spilling beer on you from the night before…the Oktoberfesting fun lost its appeal fairly quickly. So, before things got too crazy, we headed back to the cabin, kicked back in the hot tub, downed a few of our own beers from the cooler, and listened to the soothing sounds of the busy highway below. I’ll admit it, I’m not the party girl I used to be, but I can still shake the hell out of that chicken dance…at least the first night. Prost!!!